4-million-gallon sewage spill closes ocean water from Crystal Cove to Dana Point

A large sewage spill led the Orange County Health Care Agency to declare the ocean water off-limits from Crystal Cove to Dana Point because of bacteria concerns.
(Orange County Health Care Agency)

A spill of about 4 million gallons of raw sewage led the Orange County Health Care Agency to declare the ocean water off-limits from Pelican Point at Crystal Cove State Park through Laguna Beach to Poche Beach at the Dana Point and San Clemente border.

Pelican Point is at the base of Newport Coast Drive.

The agency posted the closures Wednesday night but did not say when, where and how the spill occurred. However, the city of Laguna Beach issued a news release saying the closures were prompted by a sewer leak near Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park that was draining into Aliso Creek. The city said the cause of the leak was under investigation.

Orange County Health Officer Nichole Quick said the affected ocean and bay water areas will be closed to swimming and water sports until follow-up water quality monitoring shows they meet state bacteria standards.

“I want to stress the importance of avoiding contact with ocean water in the affected areas due to the danger of exposure to untreated sewage, which can be harmful and result in very serious illness with potentially severe effects,” Quick said.

For the latest on the closures, visit

Anyone who smells sewage in the affected areas can file a complaint through the South Coast Air Quality Management District at (800) 288-7664.

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11:15 a.m. Nov. 28, 2019: This article was originally published at 10:37 a.m. and has been updated with additional information.